'3 strikes' rule might mean life sentence for W.Va. man

September 29, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A Berkeley County Circuit Court jury on Tuesday found a Martinsburg man convicted in June of a felony crime to be the same man convicted of two previous felony crimes.

Charles Edward Redman, 41, is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 26 by 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Christopher C. Wilkes.

Redman is expected to receive a life sentence with mercy under West Virginia's three-strikes rule. Life with mercy means Redman could be considered for parole after serving 15 years.

A jury of five men and seven women deliberated for about 15 minutes Tuesday afternoon after hearing eight witnesses testify about records and accounts that documented Redman's arrest and conviction in three cases.

The jury found that Redman was the same person convicted of unlawful assault in September 1987 and possession of a firearm by a felon in September 2001.


He was found guilty of the felony offense of unlawful assault by a jury June 16.

Redman elected not to testify and showed little emotion as jurors were individually polled to confirm their decision was unanimous.

Martinsburg Police Lt. George Swartwood, one of six current or retired law enforcement officers to testify, said he knew of another man in Martinsburg who was arrested in the city with the same first and last name, but that man was much younger, lighter skinned and "you wouldn't mistake the two of them."

"I've known (Redman) quite probably my entire career, professionally," said Swartwood, who marked 25 years with the department in April 2009.

Steven King, a West Virginia State Police fingerprint examiner, testified that the fingerprint records documented each time Redman was arrested all were made by the same individual.

After the trial, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Gregory Jones credited the trial work of former Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Harvey for successfully prosecuting Redman this summer on allegations that he stabbed another man in the shoulder with a pocket knife.

That conviction allowed the prosecuting attorney's office to pursue the life sentence for Redman, who has been arrested on numerous occasions, according to court records.

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